The city of Bradford is located in West Yorkshire in northern England. Its name is derived from the "broad" ford on the banks of a nearby stream. Bradford's long history as an industrial city dates back to the 13th century, and by the middle ages, it had become an important center of the wool and textile trades.

With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, as many as 200 mills eventually popped up, belching tons of heavy, sulphurous smoke into the air. Pollution ensued, leaving Bradford with the reputation of being England's most polluted town. Its knight in shining armour arrived in the form of mill owner, Titus Salt, whose concern led to the use of pollution-control measures at his five textile mills. In 1848, when Salt was elected mayor of Bradford, he fought for legislation that would require mill owners to deal with the noxious plumes. The Leeds & Bradford Railway was established in 1846 and contributed greatly to the increase in Bradford's population, which had reached 106,000 by 1861, many of them Irish immigrants.

By the 1920s, Bradford's textile industry had begun to decline. It thrives now through its engineering, chemical, and financial services industries.